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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

Daily Dose

FDA warns about Zithromax and fatal heart risks

The US Food and Drug Administration issued a warning last week about the popular and powerful antibiotic azithromycin (Zithromax or Zmax), saying that it could lead to a potentially fatal irregular heart rhythm in patients who are at higher risk for heart problems. These include people with low blood levels of potassium or magnesium or a slower than normal heart rate, or who use certain drugs to treat abnormal heart rhythms.

Patients who have disorders of the heart’s electrical system — QT interval prolongation or the rarer and more extreme form called torsades de pointes — need to be especially cautious about using these antibiotics.

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